Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Age to Come

Every time I get a question by someone either involved with the Full Preterist movement or affected by it, I feel it is my duty to respond in a thoughtful and detailed way. Writing quick, pat replies does not do honor to the person asking the question. Besides, as a believer in God's sovereignty, I must conclude there is a reason beyond the inquirer that the question has been asked. Also, I often get questions posed as "What is your view/position/opinion on XYZ". This is how we have been conditioned to think in America...that everything is subjective and merely a matter opinion. So, I don't fault the person for asking the question that way, BUT I do want to point out that I DON'T care what my personal view/position/opinion on a theological matter may be, and neither should anyone else. We, as Christians need to get to the crux; WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT XYZ?

 If we think it impossible to determine what God says about something, are we saying God is a poor articulator of His ideas/plan? After all, Full Preterism is BUILT on the premise that for over 2000 years, just about every Christian that has lived has been terribly wrong on eschatology. Full Preterism is BUILT the on the premise that the day after AD70, Christians were so stupid that they didn't realize Jesus supposedly already "returned" and instead we supposedly have been believing a falsehood for 2000 years. What does that say about how well God/the Holy Spirit/Jesus, the hand picked apostles and every other Christian has conveyed God's eschatological plan?? As a training supervisor for 8 years, I would have fired my trainers if they so poorly conveyed the material that people came to the exact opposite conclusions. However, that is exactly what Full Preterists want us to believe happened...that people just didn't get it and had to wait until THEY came on the scene to straighten us all out. With that said, we get to the point of this article.

The Full Preterist notion is that everywhere the phrase "age to come" is used in the Bible, it means the 1st-century. Nevermind that "age" often means the generic "times" as we often use the word even today. We don't mean any specific time besides the contemporary and perpetually. Notice for example, 1 Cor 1:20 which reads:
"Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" -- see Greek
Was the question limited only to the present time or is it a rhetorical perpetuity to wonder how a person of any age/time might dispute with God? Full Preterism or not, there are still "disputers" who in this age and previous ages, and ages yet to come that think they are more "wise" than foolish Christians. However, let us acknowledge there are places where "age/aion" is framed to be a specific time. This brings us to the question(s) I was asked:
"[In Heb 6:4-6] What are those powers and what especially is that age to come? Do you see that age to come as beginning in AD70 or what is it?"
First, I found it interesting this verse is being used by Full Preterists to imply what by their own logic would mean a terminus by AD70. This is interesting since a fellow who uses the name RiversOfEden and espouses a very terminus like this is hated by his fellow Full Preterists. Let's break down the text. Heb 6:4-6 is often used by those who believe you can lose your salvation to show that here are people who:
  1. were once enlightened
  2. tasted the heavenly gift
  3. became partakers of the Holy Spirit
  4. tasted the good word of God
  5. tasted the powers
Yet if they fall away it is impossible to renew them to repentance. Well, if that is how we read it, let me know if ANYONE is saved? I don't know one person now or in the past who hasn't "fallen away" to some degree or another. Now we get to the Christian interpretation of these verses.

"The knot of the question is in the word, fall away... Now this is wholly to renounce God. We now see whom he excluded from the hope of pardon, even the apostates who alienated themselves from the Gospel of Christ, which they had previously embraced, and from the grace of God; and this happens to no one but to him who sins against the Holy Spirit...But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect...The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish...But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts...There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up." - source 

 This answers what the falling away is and why the reprobate were never really "saved" no matter how enlightened they may have been. There are many secularists that "know" a lot about the Bible but that doesn't mean they were transformed into new creatures.

But what about the title of this article? What is the "Age to Come"? Per the Full Preterist implication, it was the time around the 1st-century, AD70 and as previously pointed out it causes the Full Preterist issues to limit it to that time frame since it seems to then conclude that salvation of the "Elect" was only from 30-70AD (40 year period) as RiversOfEden consistently concludes using the Full Preterist premise. However, Jesus often used the phrase "age to come" as a synonym for heaven/eternal life which Jesus also believed we Christian were in a sense; of immediate attainment at the moment of belief, even before we physically die. See John 11:24-26. This is what we mean by the phrase "already-not-yet" or perpetuity. It happens, is happening and will happen.

Our salvation is instant, not only at some point in the future. And since those who "taste" the Truth, yet fall away can never be renewed to the Truth and repentance then they become forever lost; in "this age" and the "age to come" perpetuity. This also helps explain the so-called "Unpardonable Sin" found in Matt 12:32 and Luke 12:10. It is not suicide. If someone goes through all the enlightening, and is brought not only to conviction of the Holy Spirit, but actually tastes the gift and POWERS of God's work yet STILL rejects the Faith -- there is nothing more that can be done for them. They will not even get another chance in the "age to come".

Notice Luke 18:29-30 that uses the phrase "age to come" along with the phrase "ever lasting life" or literally, "life ages". Look at the Greek for yourself here. Note that there is a word for "time" - kairos. If "age to come" was merely a point in time, why didn't God just use kairos? Because "age to come" is that perpetuity that begins at the moment of true conversion. It is the life we have even though we die physically, we never die. We pass from life to life. (2 Cor 2:16). We are alive, being made alive, and will ever be alive, in this present time and in the "age to come". Such an awesome truth as this not only stops the mouths of the defeatist Left-Behinders who think there is no power until some future date, it also stops the mouths of the Full Preterist who would limit the age to come to AD70.

A clarification: Most FPists would say the "present age" was the time before AD70, whereas the "age to come" was AD70+ However, this is the reason I said, if they were consistent like RiversOfEden, they would have a terminus, since there is not much information about what it is like in the "age to come" except for things like "no more given in marriage". This is the reason that the Oneidia Community, which was a proto-FPist group in the 1800s practiced "group marriage". See The "Age to Come" is not merely a point in time, it is a synonym for eternal life, which begins at the moment of belief, is happening and will happen.


Anonymous said...

Very much agreed!, If I'm a supervisor I would fire the messengers for not conveying the message well that it led astray Christians for more than 2000 years.

The implication would be that the Hyper Preterist are greater than the church fathers because they "got it right" after 2000 years.

Mathew 28:19-20 "I am with you always even to the end of the age, Full preterists says "aion" means Jewish age, so no need to evangelize and preach the gospel? It is done in 70 AD!. What a shame for the 21st century missionaries, pastors and church planters risking their life in preaching the Gospel only to labor for a finished cause.

They say "the bible was written for us but not to us" talk about absurd logic, they created their own logical standard that All Christians should comply and that is the "All finished at 70 AD."

Many who are wanting to break away and ditch the creative but not fully accurate "Left Behind" view got tired from predicting when will be the Rapture (blame it on Harold Camping and cohorts) went on to embrace Full Preterist view as an alternative, only to realize it's much more worse than what they have left. Others became scoffers and their disenchantment led them to Atheism.

The Trend Eschatological Cycle:

Passionate belief in Pre-Trib "Left Behinders" -> then became disenchanted scoffers because of false predictions resulting to false hope -> Discovered Full Hyper Preterism -> soon after careful study, they realize it's a heretic corrupt teaching that offers no Hope, much worse than Left behindISM -> Finally embraced ATHEISm and became Atheists.

So sad for those Christians, If only they have sticked to "Historic Premilenialism" which the Church Fathers have believed for Centuries, then many would have not been led astray by some "garbled mess" eschatology as DeMar implied.

Roderick_E said...

These are excellent points; especially about the eschatological cycle. Most FPists are simply reacting to Left-Behindism and in fact when FPists say "Futurism" and "Futurists", they ultimately mean Left-Behinders. Thanks for the great comments.

Anonymous said...

Your Welcome Sir, I just want to be a nameless watchman sounding the alarm against heresies, I'm writing these comments in my small way to affirm the truthful articles you have written for "Hyper Preterism Victims" who will be seeking sound truths and reasons and be led to this site.

I've read so many columns and forums about Eschatology and based on my observation, it's always been like that. Passionate Left-behinders who became disenchanted with all the false predictions and embraced Full preterism as an alternative all believing they found the right explanation why Christ hasn't come yet. Yet deep in their heart they know Somethings very wrong, but can't find some logical alternative to "Left Behind" that's what happen when your expecting to be Raptured but did not happened.... "hope deferred makes the Heart sick"
God has promised that Jesus will come but "no one knoweth the hour", With all these date setting I believe Jesus will come when all are not expecting it. That's why this left behinders should stop setting dates.

I also studied Full Preterism and Atheism just for the sake of not being biased. Offcourse having the "Shield of Faith" while reading them so I will not be swayed by erroneous doctrines and Philosophies of Man, I realise Atheism and Full Preterism are almost the same, both worldview think they are the most logical. But both are bordering on the extreme opposite. Atheism is entirely focused on the Tangible, Naturalist Materialist perspective, to them all that Matters is Matter, It's an idealogy that hates God and responsibility for their actions while cowering in a believe that all things operate by natural causes and man just have to discover them while the Full Preterism appears to be on the other extreme end in which they allegorize or Spiritualize everything to fit their framework and created their own logic in explaining things. Both are logical ONLY in their own terms.